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In Love With Romance

November 11, 1990

The sexist myths of Cinderella, Rapunzel, white knights and helpless women have found ironic nurture in the baroque alcoves of Margo Kaufman's "In Love With Romance" (Sept. 23).

Kaufman indulges class-conscious envy for her friend Leon, "a time traveler from the Paris of a century ago, when the biggest news . . . was the amorous adventures of the femme fatales. " Impotent, she writes that for weeks, she has been trying to persuade her husband to fulfill a fantasy of her own, explaining that "a woman needs a romantic pick-me-up now and then." She finishes with herself admiring the command and mastery of her man dealing with a common crisis.

Her most sexist remark is: "Many men would be amazed by the results of an unexpected card or seductive telephone call." Don't men need an occasional "romantic" gesture?

Her rhetoric points up a current of intellectual dishonesty in contemporary and "liberated" American women. They covet, even call feminine, the interpersonal role of dominated objects while denouncing their social and economic subordination. Women can learn to refute the mythic and cultural trappings that condemn both genders as "objects." But then I'm advocating transcendence instead of comparable worth for the daughters of white, middle-class fathers.

KIRK DOWNEY

Pasadena

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